Driving over Flying

My view down Dunlavy in Houston, Texas (at a stop light). December 21, 2013.

My view down Dunlavy in Houston, Texas (at a stop light). December 21, 2013.

If it takes less than six hours, I’d rather drive than fly.

First, anything that takes six hours to drive will take about six hours to fly, if you start the travel clock when I lock my back door to when I get out of the cab at the hotel, making the time in transit a wash. Therefore, I can only weigh the two travel modes on their merits.

And driving six hours has far more benefits than flying short distances:

  • I can make phone calls from the road, whether for business or to check in with my California cousin. If I have a traveling buddy, we can have a great conversation—and an experience far more fun than pale, sad airports and airplanes offer.

  • I can leave and return when ready. Public transit schedules don’t dictate driving departures.

  • While at my destination, I have a car. My own. I don’t have to pay for a rental vehicle while funding my car’s stay in a parking lot at the airport.

  • Car travel provides better visuals.

  • Along the road, you’ll find better food and stopping points than you will in airports and on airplanes.

  • When traveling by car, I can pack like a disaster. Suits and dresses can stay on hangers and swing from hooks by my back-seat windows. I can toss shoes and sundries in the trunk. I don’t need to worry about fitting stuff in luggage or fret about what might not make it through security.

The productivity value of air travel outweighs these benefits if the destination requires a drive time lengthier than six hours. In these cases, the flights take long enough to allow for maximum to-do list focus.

What’s your drive-fly demarcation line?